3. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Herter and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Strauss) to President Eisenhower 0


  • U.S. Cooperation with the European Atomic Energy Community

Recent demonstrations of Soviet technological competence have intensified both the need for and interest in European integration. In addition, both sides of the Atlantic are urgently searching for new types of arrangements that will bring together the rich scientific and technical resources of the U.S. and Europe. While a number of long-range programs show great promise, it is difficult to develop quickly specific major projects for joint endeavor. By good fortune, the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) is an exception where the timing favors us and where extensive preparatory staff work has been done. Furthermore, we have consistently over the last two years indicated our strong support of the proposed Community and willingness to support Euratom when it comes into being, which it did on January 1 of this year.

We have at hand a unique opportunity to exploit our great atomic energy resources to:

Further European integration at a critical moment and to do so in a manner which will associate the U.S. and its industry with a major European nuclear power program.
Provide the indispensable stimulation and assistance to Euratom which it will require if it is to initiate a major atomic energy developmental program.
Serve the interests of the United States in nuclear power development by enabling the U.S. atomic energy industry to join with European industry in demonstrating the technical and economic possibility of large nuclear power reactors.

To this end a cooperative U.S.-Euratom nuclear power program should be our objective. The program would involve beginning construction in 1958 of several large U.S.-type reactors, to be completed by 1962 or 1963 and designed to produce 1 million kilowatts of electrical energy. The cost of such a program would be borne primarily by the Europeans. The United States participation in the program, equated with the value to be gained by the United States from such a program, would be along the lines set forth in the annex. An important corollary would be the development of long-term collaboration with Euratom in [Page 6] research and development activities on the frontiers of atomic energy. A program of this nature would presumably require Congressional action prior to the adjournment in the summer of 1958.

To preserve the political impact, it is important that this program be made public only after talks have been held with the Euratom Commission and in a way which emphasizes its cooperative nature.

In addition to this program, consideration is being given to programs of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as other foreign nations or groups of nations.


That you approve in principle a cooperative U.S.-Euratom program as outlined, and instruct the Department of State and the Atomic Energy Commission to develop the technical, organizational, and financial aspects of such a program in anticipation of discussions with Euratom; and further authorize the Department of State to indicate through diplomatic channels at the appropriate time the general lines of our thinking with a view to encouraging a rapid decision on a cooperative program.1

  • Christian A. Herter
  • Lewis L. Strauss


If Euratom indicates an interest in undertaking a program for the construction of several U.S. type reactors, the U.S. would be prepared to cooperate along the following lines:

Participation by the U.S. on a loan basis in financing the estimated $350,000,000 capital costs of the reactors to the extent of $100,000,000 to $150,000,000.
Supplying the necessary special nuclear material to fuel the reactors.
Entering into special arrangements with regard to the fuel cycle reasonably consistent with those offered in the U.S. domestic program.
Extending the present U.S. direct program of fuel cycle development and testing.
Establishing, as a supplement to (d), a 10-year cooperative program of research and development on the U.S. type reactors constructed y Euratom.
Assisting Euratom in establishing a training program, arranging for the rapid exchange of technical information and establishing a Liaison Office at Euratom headquarters.
Continuation by the U.S. of a strong program of research and development on advance reactor types, basic reactor technology, etc., and providing such information to Euratom for use in meeting long term objectives.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles–Herter Series. Confidential.
  2. Written in the margin next to the last paragraph is the following notation by Goodpaster: “I notified State and AEC of President’s approval in principle. G.” This notification was apparently made on February 6, for in a memorandum that day to Secretary Dulles and Strauss, Goodpaster told them of the President’s approval of the recommendation in the final paragraph of the January 28 memorandum and added that the President “understands that specific aspects of the program, particularly the financial aspects, are subject to further development and to his further consideration.” (Department of State, Central Files, 840.1901/2–658)
  3. Confidential.